DYSON’S CASSETTE / HENDERSONS RELISH
The Dyson brick works factory site on the edge of Sheffield has been abandoned since 2006 and left to decay while the owners try to push through planning for far too many unimaginative houses in what is essentially still open countryside (and putting added pressure on the roads and school – which is already full). The maze of buildings dating back to the 1920s have become a favourite with urban explorers, photographers and graffiti artists. Scrap merchants and upcyclers have lately been stripping out metals and sorting pallets of the yellow firebricks to sell on.
Visiting the site on several occasions myself to take photographs – it being within walking distance of our house – the abandoned canteen was perhaps the most evocative area, with playing cards, newspapers and other items scattered about on the floor. Using a tripod to get the necessary exposure in what was (with the local spring water channelled noisily under the floor) quite a dark and eerie space, I took close ups of some of these discarded items.
The Cassette is a now itself an almost vanished music format which most right minded people couldn’t wait to get rid of, but is somehow seen as an iconic retro artifact these days. I even saw tins of mints in the shape of cassettes the other day.
The (limited edition for the local football team) bottle of Henderson’ Relish also caught my eye. No matter what art discipline you work in (or indeed whether you’re even an artist), it seems you are legally required to do a print / cloth shopping bag / t-shirt based on this local firm’s produce if live in Sheffield. It’s actually quite an ordinary bottled flavouring much like Worcester sauce but has been bigged up by locals. So this is my Obligatory Henderson’s Print.
For both prints I took most of the colour out of the images, and produced alternate tonal versions which were then layered together, adding a mechanical tint to reflect the industrial nature of the subject – and titling them across the print itself in case anyone thought I was trying to ride the trend for prints of cassettes and sauce bottles!